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81 Songs About Sorrow, Grief, and Lost Loved Ones

Updated on June 10, 2017
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FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

If you're mourning the loss of a friend or loved one, make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about grief.  Take comfort in knowing you are not alone.
If you're mourning the loss of a friend or loved one, make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs about grief. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. | Source

Mourning Someone Special: Healing and Peace Through Music

Grief is like an unwelcome stranger who invites himself into your life and often stays too long. He sets his own pace, cannot be hurried along. You must suffer his poor company until Acceptance arrives to replace him.

If you're reading this because you've lost someone special to you, I am sorry for your loss. Know that you are not alone. During the times when I have lost people close to me, I have often found solace in music. Songs connect us to others who have experienced the same feelings. They spark memories of lost loved ones and creatively distract from the pain of the moment while expressing hope in tomorrow.

Make yourself a playlist to soothe your sorrow. These pop, rock, and country songs express the mix of emotions involved in mourning the loss of a dear friend or relative. I hope they help bring you healing and peace.

1. "See You Again" by Carrie Underwood

Although sad that her loved one has passed away, the narrator in this power ballad from 2013 finds strength in knowing that they will someday reunite in the everafter. Until then, she carries their memory with her, finding hope and comfort in an eventual reunion.

2. "Supermarket Flowers" by Ed Sheeran

Although this touching 2017 pop song describes the aftermath of a mother's death from the perspective of her adult son, Ed Sheeran actually based it upon the death of his grandmother.

The narrator gathers her get well cards, stuffed animals, supermarket flowers, and other items that well wishers had showered upon the woman in her waning days. He folds her nightgowns, tidies up the space she used to inhabit, and talks lovingly to her spirit:

So, I'll sing Hallelujah,
You were an angel in the shape of my mum
When I fell down you'd be there holding me up
Spread your wings as you go, when God takes you back
He'll say, "Hallelujah, you're home."

3. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day

The death of a friend or loved one can sit with you like a dark cloud for months or much longer. As you wait for the sadness to lift, you may feel the need to simply retreat from the world through sleep.

The frontman of Green Day wrote this 2005 rock song about the death of his father from cancer when the singer was a child. The song has also become symbolic of the loss that people experienced with the September 11 attack and with Hurricane Katrina.

In the Comments Section Below, Share What You Remember Most About Your Lost Loved One

4.. "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.

Having experienced loss, you may sometimes feel like giving up. This 1992 rock song empathizes with your pain and grief, encouraging you to hang on. It emphasizes that tragedy is a common part of the human experience, and you are not alone in your suffering.

5. "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney

There are few things more tragic as a person who has died before their time. Dying young seems to violate the natural order of the universe.

The narrator in this 2005 country tune laments a loved one's death. Concentrating on their unrealized potential and all of the good things they never got to experience, he wonders what their life would look like if it hadn't been cut short:

It ain't fair; you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,

6. "Hurt" by Christina Aguilera

Written in honor of the songwriter's late father, this 2006 pop song expresses the protagonist's regret that she wasn't forgiving of mistakes when he was alive. Rather than try to bridge the divide between them, she used blame and rejection.

Although she seeks reconciliation, now it's too late to make it right. She realizes that her choices have only hurt herself.

7. "Holes in the Floor of Heaven" by Steve Wariner

The man in this 1998 country song recounts the story of losing his grandmother when he was a child and his young wife as an adult. The thread that connects both sad events is the belief that his loved ones are in heaven watching over him, wishing that they could be together.

8. "When I'm Gone" by Joey + Rory

There is such heartbreaking irony in this 2012 country song which takes the perspective of a dying woman addressing her lover. She tenderly reassures him that although they will miss one another after she passes away, he will find the strength to endure without her and be okay.

In a tragic twist of fate, Joey Feek (the female half of this husband/wife country music duo) was diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer in 2014, just four months after giving birth to the couple's daughter. She died in 2016 at age 40, and her husband has since retired from singing and writing music.

9. "Dancing in the Sky" by Dani and Lizzy

Do yourself a favor by listening to this beautiful pop song. In 2016, these twin sisters from Canada became a viral sensation after posting this song on Facebook and YouTube. One of girls (Lizzy) wrote it to honor a deceased friend.

Filled with bittersweet longing as well as hope, the song features a grieving narrator who asks her loved one what heaven is like and whether the fear and pain has subsided.

"It takes strength to make your way through grief, to grab hold of life and let it pull you forward." - Patti Davis, daughter of Pres. Ronald Reagan
"It takes strength to make your way through grief, to grab hold of life and let it pull you forward." - Patti Davis, daughter of Pres. Ronald Reagan | Source

10. "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson

Where were on that fateful day, September 11, 2001? How did you react? I was with my toddler as she watched Barney cartoons, both of us unaware of the events unfolding until my husband called. For months, my little girl uttered "castles fell," referring to the skyscrapers. And even she wanted to know why.

This Grammy Award-winning country song from 2002 explores a variety of responses that people had as well as where they were when they found out that the world had been changed forever.

11. "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill

Thinking back on her relationship with a loved one who is now gone, the woman in this 2001 country song considers herself blessed. She reflects on what he taught her and how she will always carry him with her in her heart.

12. "A Long December" by Counting Crows

The anniversary of a death or other tragic event in one's life can spark sad memories, and that's what this 1996 rock song is about. The friend of one of the songwriters was run over by a car one December, and he spent several stressful weeks visiting her in the hospital as she recuperated. It felt like a blur, and when the next December rolled around, the feelings of sadness and loss came rolling back to him. He hopes that this year will be better than the last.

24 Ways to Honor the Memory of a Loved One

 
 
 
make a playlist of their favorite music or music that reminds you of them
organize a fundraising drive for their favorite cause
make sure their pet(s) are loved and well-cared for
turn their favorite clothes into a memory quilt or teddy bear
plant a tree, a rose bush, or a memorial garden
wear something as a reminder of them (e.g., their jewelry, tie, watch)
dedicate a bench in your local park to them
start a scholarship or hold an essay contest in their name
create or commission a piece of art or make a collage
reach out to someone else who is grieving or alone
share favorite photos and memories about them with others who loved them, too
write a letter to them to express anything that was unsaid
do something your loved one would have enjoyed but never got to do
feed the birds (and the squirrels)
turn some of their ashes into cremation jewelry
adopt a stretch of highway and pick up litter in their name
educate others about the disease or other cause of death (e.g., cancer, texting and driving)
write a poem
finish that big project they were working on
donate your loved one's favorite books to the local library, school, GED program, or other charity
make the recipes that your loved one was famous for
distribute forget-me-nots or wildflowers to others far and wide and ask that they plant them in your loved one's name
light a candle and reflect on the good times you shared
take care of yourself because that's what they'd want
Share ways that you keep your lost loved one's memory alive in the Comment Section below.

13. "Heaven Was Needing a Hero" by Jo Dee Messina

The protagonist in this 2010 country song reminiscences about the last time she saw her now-deceased loved one, wishing she could have held on longer. Looking to make sense of their death, she concludes that heaven needed a hero.

Usher Sings "Gone Too Soon" at Michael Jackson's Funeral

14. "Gone Too Soon" by Michael Jackson

This simple but poetic pop ballad from 1993 was written by Michael Jackson as a tribute to Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who was expelled from school for having contracted HIV through a tainted blood transfusion. The song draws a number of comparisons to short-lasting wonders such as rainbows and comets.

Later, it was also sung in memory of Princess Diana in 1997 and by Usher in 2009 at the funeral of Michael Jackson.

"Grief is the price we pay for love." - Queen Elizabeth II
"Grief is the price we pay for love." - Queen Elizabeth II | Source

15. "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion

As the theme song to the Titanic, this 1997 pop song expresses both sadness and resilience in the face of loss. The protagonist has been touched deeply by love, but his life has been cut short. She pledges to honor the memory of both her lover and their relationship by carrying on with her life.

16. "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor

This sorrowful song from 1970 was written after the death of James Taylor's childhood friend whose death was kept secret from him by others because they believed it would distract him from his career. It also describes his struggles with drug addiction and fame.

The classic song expresses his reflections on these crises:

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again.

17. "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa (featuring Charlie Puth)

The narrator in this 2015 pop song reflects on his friendship with someone close to him who has died, and he hopes that they are in a better place. He recalls the good times they shared and looks forward to one day reuniting with him.

"There is no grief like the grief that does not speak." - Henry Wadsorth Longfellow, American poet
"There is no grief like the grief that does not speak." - Henry Wadsorth Longfellow, American poet | Source

18. "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" by Reba McEntire

This song is one of regret as well as mourning. If you have a stoic father, then the 1992 country song will really register emotionally.

The narrator describes growing up with a father who buried himself in his work. Although he loved her, he couldn't find the words to express it, and he rarely hugged her. They grew apart over the years until he died, and she learned too late that he thought the world of her.

19. "One More Day" by Diamond Rio

Dreaming that he could wish for anything, the narrator in this 2000 country song wouldn't wish for riches but instead one more day with the person he has lost. He imagines how he would spend that precious time together. Make sure you say everything you need to say to those you love so that you don't look back in regret.

"Tears are the silent language of grief." - Voltaire, French philosopher
"Tears are the silent language of grief." - Voltaire, French philosopher | Source

20. "Not a Day Goes By" by Lonestar

In this heartfelt country song from 2001, the narrator mourns the loss of someone important to him. We don't know whether she's gone due to a break-up or death, but he misses her fiercely.

He carries a picture of her around in his heart, and her memory is still seared into his soul. On the outside he tries to convey that he's doing fine, but inside it's a different story.

"When grief is deepest, words are fewest." - Ann Voskamp, Canadian writer
"When grief is deepest, words are fewest." - Ann Voskamp, Canadian writer | Source

Even More Songs About Sorrow, Grief, and Lost Loved Ones

Song
Artist
Year Released
21. The Dance
Garth Brooks
1990
22. Sissy's Song
Alan Jackson
2009
23. Tears in Heaven
Eric Clapton
1992
24. You Should Be Here
Cole Swindell
2016
25. If I Had Only Known
Reba McEntire
1991
26. Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
1972
27. Let It Be
The Beatles
1970
28. Homesick
MercyMe
2004
29. Please Remember
LeAnn Rimes
2000
30. Dance with My Father
Luther Vandross
2003
31. Paradise
Coldplay
2011
32. I'll See You Again
Westlife
2009
33. Gone Too Soon
Daughtry
2011
34. Fly
Celine Dion
1996
35. Heaven Got Another Angel
Gordon Garner
2010
36. In the Arms of an Angel
Sarah McLachlan
1997
37. Small Bump
Ed Sheeran
2011
38. Why
Rascal Flatts
2009
39. Save a Place for Me
Matthew West
2007
40. Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon & Garfunkel
1970
41. I'll Be Missing You
Puff Daddy (featuring Faith Evans & 112)
1997
42. In My Life (I Love You More)
The Beatles
1965
43. Don't Take the Girl
Tim McGraw
1994
44. Like Jesus to a Child
George Michaels
1996
45. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye
Patty Loveless
1993
46. Radios in Heaven
Plain White T's
2002
47. Life Without You
Stevie Ray Vaughan
1999
48. Love Is Stronger Than Death
The The
1993
49. Love, Me
Collin Raye
1991
50. If You're Reading This
Tim McGraw
2007
51. He Stopped Loving Her Today
George Jones
1980
52. Even in Death
Evanesence
2000
53. I'll Wait for You
Joe Nichols
2005
54. To Where You Are
Josh Groban
2002
55. If You Came Back From Heaven
Lorrie Morgan
1994
56. Temporary Home
Carrie Underwood
2009
57. Hear You Me
Jimmy Eats World
2001
58. You Were Loved
Whitney Houston
1996
59. Don't Take the Girl
Tim McGraw
1994
60. You Have Been Loved
George Michael
1996
61. I Drive Your Truck
Lee Brice
2012
62. One Sweet Day
Mariah Carey
1995
63. If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away
Justin Moore
2011
64. Over You
Miranda Lambert
2011
65. Drink a Beer
Luke Bryan
2013
66. I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Glen Campbell and The Wrecking Crew
2014
67. Honey (I Miss You)
Bobby Goldsboro
1968
68. Here Today
Paul McCartney
1982
69. You're Still Here
Faith Hill
2002
70. To Where You Are
Josh Groban
2001
71. A Picture of Me (Without You)
Lorrie Morgan
1991
72. Wish You Were Here
Mark Wills
1998
73. The Car
Jeff Carson
1995
74. Miss Emily's Picture
John Conlee
1981
75. Probably Wouldn't Be This Way
LeAnn Rimes
2005
76. Jealous of Angels
Donna Taggert
2012
77. In Loving Memory
Alter Bridge
2004
78. Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)
Toby Keith
2009
79. Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
Willie Nelson
1980
80. Who Knew
Pink
2006
81. Wish You Were Here
Incubus
2004
Do you know a song about grief, sorrow, and loss that should be on this playlist? Leave us a suggestion in the Comments Section below.
"No one ever told me that grief feels so much like fear." - C.S. Lewis, British novelist
"No one ever told me that grief feels so much like fear." - C.S. Lewis, British novelist | Source

What's in a Name? Locations with Names Associated with Sorrow, Grief, and Lost Loved Ones

show route and directions
A markerGrieve Field, North Dakota, USA -
Grieve Field, Buffalo, ND 58011, USA
get directions

B markerSad Lake, Oregon, USA -
Sad Lake, Oregon 97350, USA
get directions

C markerGone, Chad -
Gone, Chad
get directions

D markerCry, France -
89390 Cry, France
get directions

E markerHurt, Virginia, USA -
Hurt, VA 24563, USA
get directions

F markerLoss, South Africa -
Loss, South Africa
get directions

G markerMourne River, United Kingdom -
Mourne River, United Kingdom
get directions

H markerVigil Peak, Montana, USA -
Vigil Peak, Montana 59936, USA
get directions

I markerWeeping Water, Nebraska, USA -
Weeping Water, NE 68463, USA
get directions

J markerWoe, Ghana -
Woe, Ghana
get directions

© 2017 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 4 weeks ago from USA

      Heiry - Thank you for your suggestion. I added it to the following playlist: http://hubpages.com/playlists/Songs-About-Supporti...

    • profile image

      Heiry 4 weeks ago

      How about Fix You by Coldplay?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 weeks ago from USA

      Aimee - Thanks for your suggestions. I've added several of these! I appreciate you.

    • profile image

      Aimee 5 weeks ago

      I'll Be Missing You ~Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans & 112

      You're Never Over ~ Eminem

      Who Knew ~ Pink

      Wish You Were Here ~ Incubus

      Baby ~ Joe Nichols

      When You're Gone ~ Avril Lavigne

      Adam's Song ~ Blink 182

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks ago from USA

      Denny - Thank you for your suggestion.

    • profile image

      Denny Kleinberg 7 weeks ago

      Hello Flourish,

      in this category we can offer the song 'New start' from the album 'Rise At Fall 2015' of the 'Maessorr Structorr' band.

      No music video so far .... :(

      Cheers,

      Denny

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 8 weeks ago from USA

      guibs - I'm so sorry about the loss of your mother. Thank you for your suggestions. I have added them, as they will bring comfort to those who have lost people who are dear to them.

    • guibs profile image

      guibs 8 weeks ago

      Two not so well known songs I chose my mom's funeral were:

      Jealous of Angels by Donna Taggart

      In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge

      Actually, I had so many good ones on my playlist that I'll just share the link. I had wanted a certain vibe and had a unique mix that fit my mom so well (I did add a few new ones from this list, however).... https://open.spotify.com/user/fennecgirl/playlist/...

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Rasma - Lots of songs here, as grief is such a universal experience. I hope they provide inspiration for your poetry if the mood strikes you.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Good grief! I hadn't realized there were so many. Sure I have been inspired many times to write poems about someone who has passed on and about the memories but that is a poem here or there. So many songs if I listened to them all in one sitting I would probably have a pile of poems to go and an empty box of Kleenex. As always a great job on this hub.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Shyron - Aww, so sad. Thanks for the update.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

      I can't believe I forgot one of my favorites, 'A picture of me without you' by Lori Morgan.

      Blessings dear friend

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

      Glen Campbell: The death has occurred of:

      GLEN CAMPBELL

      Died August 14, 2016, beloved brother.

      No farewell words were spoken,

      no time to say goodbye,

      you were gone before I knew it

      and only God knows why.

      Love, your wee bro William. xxx.

      Funeral Service on Thursday 18th August in Roselawn Crematorium at 5.00 p.m.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Audrey - Thank you so much. I appreciate you.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 months ago from California

      Grief is the price we pay for love alright--what a great list!!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Oh, Audrey, I am so sorry for your loss. I'm glad it brought you comfort. I'm sending you a big Internet hug, sweet lady.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      MsDora - Bless your heart. I thought of you, sweet Dora, when I wrote this. Thinking of you as well as Mother's Day arrives. Some of the saddest memories have been associated with losing loved ones and hearing about others' loss of their loved ones. My father lost his mother when he was in his mid-teenagers by her own hand unfortunately. He was one of eight children, his father was in a hospital for TB long-term, and he was the only child living at home. He was left to care for the family's farm and grieve alone. The day after her funeral he returned to school and not one person mentioned her death. Not teachers, friends, coaches, no one. They just went on like nothing had happened. He's 70 now and I just recently learned of this. It's obviously a very vivid and painful memory. The more we can reach out in comfort to people who are hurting, the better the world will be.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      This one is very touching. I remember calling for the doctor to verify my mother's death and then questioning "Suppose she is not really dead?" You never want it to be true. You've done a great job here.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      Your opening line is a true description of grief. "Grief is like an unwelcome stranger who invites himself into your life and often stays too long. He sets his own pace, cannot be hurried along."

      You had no way of knowing that you were writing this hub for me. I'm sure I share this feeling with others. A beautiful hub.

      Josh Groban sings a touching song called "You're Still Here" which sends a lovely message to all of us who have lost loved ones.

      Thanks again my friend for creating this much-needed hub.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Linda - Thank you for your suggestion. It must have been very hard for him to pen that song. I have added it at #68. I hope you are doing well, dear lady!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Bill - Every time I hear that song, I think of abandoned cats like on the tv commercial for the ASPCA. Gosh, my own home is a sanctuary and I don't know how much more a person could do. Thanks for reading!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Martie - It's a song of great empathy, I agree. Have a lovely week!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Heidi - Thanks so much! You too! Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 months ago from Chicago Area

      Where would country music be without songs about love and loss? :) But I hope your upcoming week is a happy one. Cheers!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - This is a lovely hub. I especially like your ideas for creating a remembrance of your loved one.

      I have perhaps another song to add to your list. On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was gunned down in front of his apartment in New York City. Paul McCartney loved him dearly, and wrote the song "Here Today" as a tribute to his friend. I heard Paul sing that song just a year ago--and even 30+ years later, his voice still cracks when he remembers John.

      And if I say I really knew you well

      What would your answer be?

      If you were here today

      Ooo ooo ooo, here today

      Well, knowing you

      You'd probably laugh and say

      That we were worlds apart

      If you were here today

      Ooo ooo ooo, here today

      But as for me,

      I still remember how it was before

      And I am holding back the tears no more

      Ooo ooo ooo, I love you, ooo

      What about the time we met?

      Well, I suppose that you could say

      That we were playing hard to get

      Didn't understand a thing

      But we could always sing

      What about the night we cried?

      Because there wasn't any reason

      Left to keep it all inside

      Never understood a word

      But you were always there with a smile

      And if I say I really loved you

      And was glad you came along

      And you were here today

      Ooo ooo ooo, for you were in my song

      Ooo ooo ooo, here today

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

      Fabulous playlist! "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. shall always be my favorite.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Clapton's song was the first one I thought of...and then "Angel" popped into my head...Sarah MacLachlan's song....I swear, that one is played at almost every funeral. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Debangee - Thank you for your kind support.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Shyron - Thank you so much for those suggestions. That Glen Campbell song particularly pulls at the heartstrings knowing the context. It made me wonder how he was doing. I understand he's been in an Alzheimer's care facility since 2014.

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 2 months ago from India

      Memories of loved ones are like pin-pricks. Just like thorns prick your feet in a deserted bushy place. These memories are everlasting and are honorable.

      An excellent , touching hub. Thanks for sharing these lovely ways of honoring loved ones. A very different thought . Well done .Keep it up!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

      I love this hub the most.

      Glen Campbell's last song to his wife would be a good addition

      I'm Not Gonna Miss You

      Glen Campbell and The Wrecking Crew

      I'm still here, but yet I'm gone

      I don't play guitar or sing my songs

      They never defined who I am

      The man that loves you 'til the end

      You're the last person I will love

      You're the last face I will recall

      And best of all, I'm not gonna miss you

      Not gonna miss you

      I'm never gonna hold you like I did

      Or say I love you to the kids

      You're never gonna see it in my eyes

      It's not gonna hurt me when you cry

      I'm never gonna know what you go through

      All the things I say or do

      All the hurt and all the pain

      One thing selfishly remains

      I'm not gonna miss you

      Also

      Honey – Bobby Goldsboro

      I’m Not Lisa – Jessi Colter

      Blessings dear friend

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